National Fisherman

"Just once," one fisherman said to another before the start of Monday night's public hearing in Portland on the proposed 2011 Atlantic bluefin tuna quotas, "I'd like to come to a meeting in support of a rule instead of fighting it."

But the standing room only crowd that packed the Massachusetts Room at the Holiday Inn was decidedly not favoring the NMFS proposal.

"How many people in the room support the proposed rule?" Robert Fitzpatrick, a Maine tuna dealer for 20 years, asked the crowd.

Three hands went up.

The big sticking point is NMFS' proposal to subtract 160 metric tons of dead discards, which the agency says is the best estimate from 2009, from the total U.S. bluefin tuna allocation of 923.7 metric tons. Even after adding the 2010 underharvest of 94.9 metric tons, the adjusted 2011 bluefin quota falls to 858.6 metric tons.

And that shrinks every harvest sector's sub-quota, too.

But some of the comments suggested U.S. fisheries management policy and actions may pose as great a challenge to tuna harvesters as the discards proposal does.

Fitzpatrick said U.S. officials, not the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, are responsible, for example, for limiting the amount of leftover quota that can be carried forward to 10 percent of a country's quota.

"Our own government puts the handcuffs on us, makes us walk the plank, then gets in front of us and says, 'ICCAT did this to us,'" Fitzpatrick said. "The U.S. government pushed the changes through that eliminated the rollover."

Maine Sen. Olympia J. Snowe's office submitted written testimony, noting that the senator had urged NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco to pursue at November's ICCAT session a modest and scientifically justifiable increase in the TAC for the western stock of Atlantic bluefin.

But Lubchenco instead sought and secured a reduction of the TAC by 50 metric tons, Snowe wrote. Doing so, Snowe wrote, has "exacerbated the challenge of developing the base quotas for both 2011-2012 and will tighten the margins for these fishermen."

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

The resignation of Walker’s director of Boards and Commissions, Karen Gillis, fanned the flames of controversy late last week.

Read more...

Keith Decker, president and COO of High Liner Foods, will take over for the outgoing CEO, Harry Demone, who will assume the role as chairman of the board of directors. The Lunenburg, Nova Scotia-based seafood supplier boasts sales in excess of $310 million (American) for the first quarter of the year.

Read more...
Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Country
U.S. Canada Other

City
State/Province
Postal/ Zip Code
Email